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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I currently live on the second story of an apartment complex, I can’t really put up a fish room. Recently, I had the idea to make a portable system that I think might work. Basically it consist of 3-5 buckets/large bins, syphons between the tanks, and a sponge filter type apparatus. The water will circulate using a modified sponge filter that has a candy cane shaped tube that connects two containers. Syphons will move the water through the tanks and eventually back to the tank with the sponge filter. Currently testing with 5 gallon buckets. Needing ideas, must be non permanent, and I do not want to cut/drill my containers.
 

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What are the buckets/bins for? Filtration, or fish keeping?

You've basically just described a sump filtration system, if I'm understanding correctly. The hitch, however, will be the siphon. It's not going to be easy to synchronize a cascading siphon. You need to calculate the pressure due to the weight of a fluid. And then, you have to return it. So you will be have to be careful not to break siphon, due to variation in displacement between containers. Alternatively, if you have varying levels of containers, you run the risk of an overflow at some point, if you lose positive pressure displacement at any of your containers (all of them, potentially, if your pump fails).

In short... my expert DIY opinion, is that siphon chains don't work well. If you want to overflow to a single container, and pump back up (like a sump), then yeah, all day long. You're protected by the water level at the height of the overflow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
So basically I’m going to keep the buckets at a level height, the syphons just act as an equalizer for the tanks. I’m doing so, water can flow from one tank to the next, and eventually back to the tank with the sponge filter. The system cannot over flow, but keeping a syphon will be an issue. My main concern is the air lift will not be strong enough to actually transfer the water from one bucket to the next. I will be trying to keep fish in them, mostly bettas and shrimp.
 

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If everything is at the same level, you don't have a siphon. You just have circulation. A siphon literally acts upon an atmospheric pressure differential.

Suggest that you look up "RDWC hydroponics system". I think that you're asking for trouble if you don't use an actual pump, though. Just my opinion...
 

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Possibly by using an air lift/sponge filter in each bucket to transfer to the next might equalize the transfer and/or mitigate the irregularities that having only one "powered" transfer might have. That way you don't have to rely purely on siphoning to get to each next bucket. You would not have to worry about losing one of the siphons and having a break in the chain and/or an overflow situation. Having the sponge filter won't prevent a higher water flow through it if all the tubes aren't being "pumped" at an equal flow rate. I understand it in my head how it will work and hopefully can elaborate further if this makes sense to you.
 

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Possibly by using an air lift/sponge filter in each bucket to transfer to the next might equalize the transfer and/or mitigate the irregularities that having only one "powered" transfer might have
Nope. Will never work. You can't have independent (active) systems for transfer of fluids in an interconnected system, and expect them to be equalize by passive means. And by "passive", I mean, no regulation or monitoring. If it's a cascading sump with one return, OK. Everything else, nope. The amount of complexity and precision to synchronize would be astounding.

And as previously stated... You cannot "siphon" anything to another vessel that's sitting at the same level. It just doesn't work that way.
 

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Nope. Will never work. You can't have independent (active) systems for transfer of fluids in an interconnected system, and expect them to be equalize by passive means. And by "passive", I mean, no regulation or monitoring. If it's a cascading sump with one return, OK. Everything else, nope. The amount of complexity and precision to synchronize would be astounding.

And as previously stated... You cannot "siphon" anything to another vessel that's sitting at the same level. It just doesn't work that way.
Which is why I said to add the airlift to each bucket. The only time a siphon would happen would be if one bucket does for some reason get out of synch and have a higher level than the one it's flowing into. In that case the different height would push the excess water beyond the normal flow of the airlift until it equalized water level.
 

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You're not going to create any sort of useful siphon over an inch or two of fluid level (if at all - because what's going to prime it, to begin with?). Don't take my word for it. Try it. It's an easy enough experiment.
 

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@Wtyler , why not make it more simple by putting air driven sponge filters in each tote and using an air pump with a gang valve to adjust the air flow in each tote?

Using clear totes would be my preference instead of buckets both for monitoring/viewing the fish or shrimp and offer more floor space. They can also be stacked on shelving for a more aesthetic appearance.
 

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If the goal is to run 3-5 "tanks" then you wont get an easier system than an air pump running to a manifold and then distributing to individual sponge filters for each "tank."
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Currently got a prototype, I’ll run to the fish store tomorrow for some supplies, tanks equalize no problem, just worried about the air lift being able to transfer fluid

If everything is at the same level, you don't have a siphon. You just have circulation. A siphon literally acts upon an atmospheric pressure differential.

Suggest that you look up "RDWC hydroponics system". I think that you're asking for trouble if you don't use an actual pump, though. Just my opinion...
The reason I want to use an air lift instead of a pump is to slow the flow, and I think it’s the simplest means. The siphon will be working on a couple of inches difference, and according to the delta p calculations I can move just over 2-3 oz/min.
 

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The reason I want to use an air lift instead of a pump is to slow the flow, and I think it’s the simplest means. The siphon will be working on a couple of inches difference, and according to the delta p calculations I can move just over 2-3 oz/min.
Please post video. I'm curious to see it in motion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Plenty of flow! The best part is, it stops transferring when the water gets too high, and the whole thing equalizes when air is cut
 
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